November 28, 1995
Location: 63 09í South Latitude x 138 34í West Longitude. 460 miles for the Mid Pacific Ridge.
We experienced a smorgasbord of weather today. It began with a splendid
clear sunrise, calm winds, and smooth seas. A silver crescent of moon hung
like a single ornament on the morning sky. The sun was a ruby set afire on
The seas were the first to change as our course brought us once again
into the ice. The winds had blowen the brash ice out from the coast to the
open sea. Our course was changed to due north to avoid the ice.
We cleared what we thought was the worst of the ice problem by early
morning, and reestablished our westerly great circle route. By the end of
my watch we were in open water, traveling at about 11 knots. By the time I
awoke at 2:00 PM, we were again in the ice, but the sun had vacated us
once more. A strong wind produced large swells.
We would play hide and seek with the ice all day. Large patches of
brash ice miles across had been blown from the coast randomly along our
route. The ice was like a cobble stone covering on the waves. Each piece
fit neatly against the next, as if the pattern had been preplanned. As the
swells moved, the way in front of the ship looked like a moving walkway
atop a white rolling meadow.
By dinner, brief periods of snow made the wind a visible menace. We
again were beyond the edge of the ice, and the wind was free to drive the
water into large rollers that rocked the ship in every direction. By late
evening the sky and sea were connected by a thin haze. The weather
forecast calls for stronger winds and a brief period of storms for
tomorrow. We will be securing everything down tonight with the chance for
a rough ride ahead.
Interesting data continues to arrive daily as we proceed with our sonar
mapping of the sea floor. Today was a great day for unusual features on
the sea floor. Up from the flat basin projected parallel ridges and sea
mounts that had never before been located. Just as quickly as the
formations appeared, the sea floor returned to a flat deserted plain.
It is hard to convey the excitement that finding these new bits of data
can create on the ship. It seems that no one is immune to the
contagiousness of the process of discovery. We listen to the plotter
waiting for the familiar pattern of groans and bangs that indicate that a
feature has been located on the sea floor. Many gather by the plotter,
waiting in line to be the first to see the sea floor exhibit that the
forces of nature have created.